Chicken Run

Life comes at you fast and it does not matter how fast or how strong or how smart you are, one day the penny will drop and it will be you. It would be your turn.

Life comes at you fast and it does not matter how fast or how strong or how smart you are, one day the penny will drop and it will be you. It would be your turn.

It was not always like this, you know. Someone said, it is always the law abiding ones you need to watch out for. He was right. He was referencing me when he said this, but that doesn’t stop him from being right. I was a law abiding one. Maybe that is what started this; my love for the law, for order and stability and a proper and just way of doing things. I paid my taxes, had all my complete papers, paid my bills on time, and never as much as made a turn without signalling first. It did not stop me from being pulled over regularly by the police though. It is Bushiria, and every marginally successful looking young person is a potential criminal until proven otherwise.

May 15, 2021. I remember the date as vividly as anything else in my life. I and my girlfriend has been returning that evening from a party. It was perhaps 5pm, so you can tell, it was not that kind of party. One of her girls has turned twenty-nine and they were celebrating her last year before the big 3-0. We got pulled over at the checkpoint. A routine check, they said. After five minutes of going through my papers and licenses, several times and asking countless questions, the lead officer; a Corporal, by his stripes, leaned closer to me and went:

“So, anything for us, young man?”

Being a law abiding citizen, bribery is one of the things I detest the most. I play my cards straight and follow all the rules so I do not have to pay bribes to get anything done. Now, here was this idiot, demanding one irrespective. To make matters worse, if there is anything I hate more than bribes, it is being patronized. It was there, the way the officer smiled, “young man”, the ugly stains in his teeth, the way he leaned towards me, I wanted to burst.

He noticed my hesitation, mistaking my countenance for contemplation or something and he continued, still smiling that stupid, ugly, ugly grin.

“You know say e easy to put exhibit for inside your moto. Na wetin people dey do, but me dey ask. Make your woman no come start to dey cry.”

And that was the moment I snapped.

It was not the threat to place an unlicensed gun or bullets or drugs in my car, or how it would make my girlfriend feel that changed everything. No. It was nothing like that. It was the thought of how easy it was. How easy it was for a police officer to just plant false evidence and indict an innocent person, forcing them to commit a crime, to bribe. How terrible the police force was that such a thing could happen under their watch, within their ranks, and there was nothing that could be done for it.

So, I snapped.

When I wrenched the AK-47 from his hands, it was on pure instinct. I whirled, allowing my elbow catch him in the face. His nose split open audibly. That I possessed enough strength to do that, that the nerve endings in my elbow suddenly erupted in agony barely registered above my subconscious, I was still moving. I shoved the rifle into the arms of the other officer standing beside me, causing him to drop his gun on the floor. Then holding the barrel of the rifle in both hands, I clubbed both men until the crumpled unconsciously to the ground.

I was not seeing their faces as I hit them. It was not Corporal Baboon or the other fellow, whose name tag or face, I cannot recall even now. I was not seeing those indolent, underpaid louts. I was seeing the system, the faceless men behind it all. The ones who did not pay enough, did not hire enough, did not equip enough, and so forced these men into these despicable acts of criminality. I was deaf to the cries at that moment, deaf to the screams of my girlfriend in the car or the passers-by who raced away in the rapidly emptying street. I did not hear anything, did not see anything, not until I stopped.

“Get in the car,” I said quietly to my girlfriend who was now standing beside me, staring at the bloody mess of flesh on the tarmac, her hands at her sides, her eyes blank, catatonic.

She did not argue as she normally would have. She simply entered into the car. Still gripping the barrel of the rifle, whose butt was slick with blood and what seemed like bits of skin and hair, I entered after her and started the car. Then I remembered, there had been three officers at the checkpoint when I stopped. I could see the last man running down the road.

I gunned the car.

***

Burying the gun was out of the question. I simply threw it in a culvert close to the house. Getting the girlfriend to keep quiet about the thing was another matter entirely. By the time she recovered from her catatonia, she kept babbling, begging and threatening me in turns to stop the car and go back to the police.

“I won’t tell anyone baby. I promise. I would never. Not on my life. But you have to tell the police. You have to turn yourself in.”

She, I buried.

I borrowed my neighbour’s car, told him I wanted to drop my girl off at the car park. When I got to Zoobadan Garage, I offered to drive her to Zoobadan myself, ostensibly so we could talk. She believed me. I strangled her and buried her body somewhere in the bushes past the Foresamu overpass. Then I returned to Woodgos.

But it was not enough.

I could not help the boiling anger that still coursed through me every time I saw a police checkpoint that week. Every time I saw another group of young people being mistreated by the police on social media, I wanted to burst. How were they not learning? How did the death of three of their officers not strike some fear into them? How come they were still acting with all impunity?

In the evening of the next Saturday, I drove out. It had been a week and as typical, there was no investigation. Not one single image of the incident had been caught on camera. There was no suspect, no real ones anyway. A bunch of people had been grabbed off the street the day after and paraded in front of cameras, beaten, humiliated, and then coerced to pay bribes to get free. In all, it only served to fuel my ire.

So when I drove up to the checkpoint on that lonely road, wearing a snapback cap, shorts, a tank top and gold bracelet son my wrist, I must have looked like the usual soft target. I was the only one at the checkpoint, surrounded by armed police officers. Another one, ripe for the plucking. Another innocent in whose car they would plant marijuana and extort 15,000 Shakira.

I did not give them the chance.

“Young man, please turn off your car and step out of the vehicle.”

I did.

One officer pretended to engage me in a conversation about my papers, while the other one poked his head into the back seat. The third officer was on the other side of the car.

“Ehen! What do we have here?” the one with his head in my car started. “This looks like igb…”

I shoved the door hard as he was bringing out his head from the car. The door jamb cracked against his skull, causing him to yell. At the same moment, I grabbed for the gun of the one in front of me. He was a smaller man than Corporal Baboon, but I did not have quite the element of surprise as I had had before. He did not let go of his gun.

So, while I grappled with him, his colleague writhing on the floor in pain, I heard a crack as the third officer cocked his gun.

Many education psychologists have theorized the veracity of passive learning. Is it possible for someone, like Neo in The Matrix to simply learn a physical skill like fighting, from countless hours of being exposed to it visually? Maybe it isn’t, but there is no better explanation for what happened next.

No explanation for how, I with no formal military or otherwise offensive training, suddenly twisted to put the officer I was grappling with between myself and the third officer with the gun. The sound of the gun shot was loud and jarring. The bullet thudded into the first officer’s back with an audible thwack.

Yaaai! Fuck!” the last officer screamed.

I kicked off the dying body, sliding back the hammer to cock the rifle in my hands in the same motion, and fired a short burst into the stomach of the last officer before the first officer’s body hit the floor. To finish up, I returned the rifle’s safety and moving deliberately around the car, clubbed each officer in the head till I was certain they were not breathing. I left the back of weed they had been planning on planting in my car on the body of one of the officers and drove home.

***

This time around, I was famous.

I was not alone on the street that day. Twitter user @Ogbosky_JUJU had been walking home, intent on passing the checkpoint while the officers were busy with me when I had exploded into action. Dropping his backpack of school books, with recessed portions where he hid the pills and marijuana he peddled, he hid behind an empty kiosk and made a video.

I woke at 5am the next morning as a celebrity. Social media was agog with the arguments, left wing and right wing arguing about the extremism of the violence, the tie in with the previous incident and the abundant theories as to the legality of it all. Above everything was the question of who I was. It did not take long for me to be identified from the video. It actually took less than 12 hours and it was not done by the police. Certain individuals, skilled at ferreting information for countless twitter wars, had linked all my social media accounts and found my address less than 2 hours after I woke. Then someone mentioned the police handle on the information.

By the time I was walking out of my house at about 8:30am that Sunday morning, I was more than famous. I was infamous. Getting to my car and driving to an ATM sufficiently far, but close enough, took about 20 mins. I had only the basic essentials in the car, two changes of clothes and a toothbrush. I withdrew 300,000 Shakira using two bank cards, then I started driving. I did not know where I was going, but I was determined to go. I would have disappeared. I think I would have but, the police had some help again. My banks divulged my withdrawal information, then my internet service provider my whereabouts. I heard all this on the radio while I drove but by then, it was too late, they were on my heels.

It had taken a week for my life to unravel, to spill everywhere like a bucket made of sieves. I knew I was doomed, doomed as surely as the devil himself. Not only was my story going to be a mess in the telling and retelling, but if I lived long enough for trial, I would be in the worst pains possible. No, damn it.

Disclaimer

  • Violence is never the answer
  • This is clearly a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, as well as places or systems existing is purely coincidental.
  • Learn, please.

Simeon

Watching the light leave their eyes never did it for Simeon. It wasn’t the dying that he enjoyed. It wasn’t the dying that kept him up at night, tossing and turning, unable to sleep until he went out and killed. It wasn’t the dying. It was the death.

To slice a knife across a neck, to feel the sharp blade slide across furrows and furrows of skin, biting in and then deeper, while the blood spurted out. To hold the person as they struggled, bound and helpless against his iron strength, to feel the fierceness of the struggle intensify and then wane into stuttering tremors. Those were minor pleasure, tidbits and freebies, enough to please a lesser man, but pale when compared with his actual desire. The bare foreplay, the teasing at the proper finale. It didn’t compare, not to the death.

The finality of it all, fascinated Simeon. To end a life. The knowledge that only a few minutes ago, this heart was beating, pulsing life through a body that leapt and laughed and loved and had a family. To end all that. It was the power of God. To hold a heart, bloody and lifeless, stuck through with tiny splinters of bone from a crushed rib. To feel it still warm as it grew cold, and to know that only a few minutes ago, it had given life. It made him flush hot and cold all over.

The little girl on the side of the dark street, her pink pinafore swaying in the late evening breeze as she waited for him before she crossed the road, one hand clutching a basin of pineapple cuts wrapped in transparent nylon.

“Go on,” he motioned with his hand. Accompanying the action with two short blasts from his car horn.

The girl smiled gratefully, stepping onto the empty street.

Simeon took his foot off the brake and stepped down on the throttle.

The car hit the small body with a dull thud, pushing it forward and under the grille of the Mercedes. The basin of pineapple cuts banged against the bonnet, rolling off and out of the way, spilling out in careless array. 16 inch wheels, treads as wide as 225mm, rolled over the stunned body, crushing its tiny ribs, splintering it to pieces that exploded into the thoracic cavity, and killing the girl instantly. Simeon slammed on the brakes again. Switching the gear into reverse, he turned the steering wheel, rolling again over the dead body, crushing pelvis and arm. It flipped and flopped all over the road, a dusty brown thing that used to be pink.

The sun went behind the row of houses in the distance, the last light reflecting briefly off plastic wrapped pineapple cuts, strewn across the road.

Similar to this: Ruki’s Desire

The act of killing the body lying across the still empty road in front of his car had no effect on him. Nothing. His heart did not suddenly lift, his breath did not catch. Stepping out of the car, his palms sweaty, his breath only now beginning to come quickly, he walked to the mangled body, tiny trickles of blood already beginning to stream out all the orifices and bruises on the splotchy skin.

He stood over it. Kicked at her. It didn’t move. It felt like soft stone. She was dead. Gloriously and completely dead. Hot steam hit his eyes, filling them instantly with tears. A short moan escaped his lips. A wet patch spread on his trousers.

It wasn’t the dying that did it for him. It wasn’t the dying that sated him when he was tense and unable to sleep. It was death. It was becoming God.

He picked up a wrap of pineapple cuts as he walked back to the car, dusting the sand off.

Disclaimer

  • I do not think GOD finds killing or death fascinating. I think only crazy people do.

The Goat of Christmas Past

E get this wise man wey talk something, e say, “things dey work out pass for those people wey dey make the best of how things work out”. The guy sabi die. Different ways dey wey things fit sup for this life, but na how and wetin you use am do, na him go make the different between whether you succeed to live another day, or you no succeed. Na person wey no plan well dey end up inside stew.

Definitely not a Dickens kind story.

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E get this wise man wey talk something, e say, “things dey work out pass for those people wey dey make the best of how things work out”. The guy sabi die. Different ways dey wey things fit sup for this life, but na how and wetin you use am do, na him go make the different between whether you succeed to live another day, or you no succeed. Na person wey no plan well dey end up inside stew. If you play your cards right, na you go tanda in the near future with better lems, dey give people advice.

Make I clear you my story, maybe by the time wey I don finish, you go understand wetin I dey talk.

Okay, make I introduce myself. My name na Goat. Look me, yes you, look me. No dey look that fat woman wey stand there for road. No be nyash be that, that na person wey fat true true Continue reading “The Goat of Christmas Past”

Nwin-Nwin: The Legend Begins

Dedicated to the most self-less man I ever knew and the few stories he could tell me

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In Africa, the sun rises and sets without warning, and the winds blow through the old forests with the songs of legends, the marks of their passing staining the blood-red sands.

And some of those legends are true.

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In the old Edo, the first true black civilization, the empire was home to many tribes and cultures. Bound together by the Obas who ruled after the era of the Ogisos, the sky kings, it stretched almost five thousand miles in either direction; from the steppes of the Dahomey to the swamps of the Niger Delta. Within were the Itshekiri, the Etsako, the proud Ijaws and Urhobos, the noble Esan, the big and powerful Binis and the Igbos both west and east of the Niger River. All paid homage to the Oba and in turn were blessed by him, for the Oba was more than just a man, the Oba was king, the Oba was god on Earth.

Oba ghato kpe e!

The Bini empire was called Edo and it was powerful, the envy of the neighboring kingdoms to the west and the north. Their trade guilds employed the most skilled of artisans; blacksmiths and hunters, their warriors, soldiers from birth, trained in the knife, spear and hand-to-hand combat, and also in the finer arts of war and strategy and juju. It was strategy that led to the building of the Bini moats and high wall which surround the capital of the Edo Empire at Benin City, till this day. Moats that were built with the aid of giants enslaved and brought from across the deserts. Strategy and wisdom, both physical and spiritual.

The warriors who came from all over the kingdom, all swore allegiance to the throne of the Oba, and whether Esan or Ijaw, all spoke the lingua franca, a bastardization of the Bini language, known as the Edo language. Within this military were special cadres, the strategists, the juju priests and the elite warriors. This is a story of one of those elite warriors, and as with such tales, it began at night… Continue reading “Nwin-Nwin: The Legend Begins”

How I nearly got killed because of a sugar mummy in Port Harcourt

Sugar mummies in Port Harcourt are a serious thing. A really serious thing. It has not been one time or twice that I have been propositioned. There is a lurid satisfaction that comes with being the object of sexual attraction of someone 15-20 years older than you. Anyway, this is one of my stories of what happened.

When I first came to Port Harcourt four years ago, I was young, bright-eyed and hungry. I had come from my little town in Benin City and I was determined to make sure I made money in Port Harcourt before I headed back. Very quickly, one of the first things I did was to start a business. I registered a company with the CAC and started searching for clients everywhere I could.

One day while talking business with a potential client who was the owner of a beauty salon in GRA Phase 2, I was called over to a lady who was getting her hair braided. She asked me what I did and then gave me her business card and told me to call her the next day. I was overjoyed. It seemed like all my dreams were about to come true. Not only had I been able to meet a potential client, I was also going to get a second one. I was so happy.

As soon as I got home, I called the lady. She quickly told me to call her later and sent me a text message to meet her the following day at a restaurant in GRA. I was so excited. I spent the whole night writing and rewriting proposals I will present to her. When power went, I ran outside and bought a few litres of petrol to run my generator so I could print out enough proposals for our meeting. Continue reading “How I nearly got killed because of a sugar mummy in Port Harcourt”

Guitar boy

Been awhile since I was, bitten, possessed, with the insane desire that makes me race for the nearest laptop, tongue hanging out in glee, foamy spittle flying out my mouth, to put down words in a story. Been writing boring stuff for work though. But yesterday as I heard the strings from Victor Uwaifo while bumping down a, well, bumpy road in a rickety rickshaw keke that had long outlived its shock absorber, I was stung. Make of it what you will, but this is a story about music, and it’s power.

www.aljanusi.wordpress.com Guitar boy
For Sir Victor Uwaifo, Living Legend

Now playing: Guitar boy – Sir Victor Uwaifo

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Benin City, Old Bendel State

November 23, 1972

 

 

“Guitar boy! Guitar boy

If you see mammywata, never, never run away eeeh ehh..”

His slim fingers raced down the strings as if of their own accord, they were long and thin, those fingers, as if starved of the very life with which they coursed along the neck of the guitar, weaving magic. The nails were cut short, just before the hard pads, which thumped down on the frets, moving from key to key as he strummed the six stringed acoustic. As his fingers slid down the guitar, punctuating the rhythm, it seemed as though, almost imperceptibly, that smoke curled from the strings, a mere shadow perhaps, but tendrils wafting out from beneath the bowed head of the player, and on to the audience.

Continue reading “Guitar boy”

The Nice and Similar Travails of Asemota Jane

Too be very honest, this story is not completely based off a true one. The operative word here is completely. However, it is really a cliched, Evil Irumi kind guy meets the Beauty type. You do know the story of the Irumi right? The one where the really handsome guy comes to marry the girl with all the money and then halfway on the way to the guy’s house, she discovers he is actually a monster with his face at the back of his head and she regrets rejecting the other suitors? Basically, the original African story from where Shakespeare’s modified Taming of the Shrew appeared from. Okay, too long an intro. Just read will you…

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The Nice and Similar Travails of Asemota Jane

When she first met Eric she had been sitting at the side of a pool in Sapele. It was a sunny day and she and her friends had decided to come out to play. It wasn’t often that the sun decided to shine in Sapele and whenever it did, everybody came out. Everybody young and carefree that is, most of those who did not care or had no friends stayed in anyway. The truly unfortunate thing when she thought back to that day was that she had been alone. Perhaps if she had been with her friends, a fully clustered bevy of buzzing bees, the young men would not have come to her. But as it was, they did, and for her, that is how most of the story began.

Continue reading “The Nice and Similar Travails of Asemota Jane”

Two Tales

NUDITY, FOOD AND THINGS THAT CAUSE HATE

There I was, wet body with a bar of amber colored Fair & White Gold soap in my hand, single gold chain atop my slim hips, hair net on my head removing hair from my neck, bambi eyes wider than a saucer and mouth open in shock as the door to the bathroom creaked open and a pair of eyes ogled the spectacle. This was followed by a high-pitched slightly maniacal laughter as my embarrassment doubled and my yellow skin flushed as my heart beat tripled.

Oh no.

“Sister Simi, sorry o”, the owner of the slightly maniacal laughter said as she pinched her accomplice who walked back to the living room of my two-bedroom flat, holding his pinched arm. I could swear that I saw a tingle of accomplishment in her eyes and I looked at her in disbelief.

God.

“I didn’t know you were inside the bathroom o. How are you now? Please come and give me M&B paracetamol, I’m having a slight headache. How is your weekend going? Hope no problem.”

“I… I… I’m coming. I’ll be done soon.”

“Okay. I hope you cooked o. so I can take the paracetamol before we go for rehearsal.”
And she sauntered off to the direction of the living room in her very ugly red blouse and pink leggings like nothing happened.

I closed the door and sat down with my bare buttocks on the cold tiles, cursing myself for giving her an extra key to my house. As I stood up two minutes later when my mouth closed and completed my bath, I heard the TV change from SoundCity to Africa Magic Yoruba. Anger peered its head in my chest, amazed at the audacity of this woman and terrible words from a dark place in my heart began to take form.
I got out, got dressed and as I made my way to the living room with my car keys, I stopped short as the smell of my Hot-dog and Shrimp sauce wafted to my nostrils.

Jesus no. Jesus no. Jesus, please, no.

I ran the remaining steps to find my Hot-dog and Shrimp sauce on two plates with my Ofada rice beside it. There was no way both of them were eating and there was any left in the pot for me.

“Aunty Simi,” Ayinde said as he sat on the floor, my food between his small parted legs, “do you have Bobo?”
His mother threw her head back and laughed again, choking a little as the food in her mouth passed the wrong tunnel.
In that moment, my eyes filled with tears and I garnered all the hate I could muster and promised to unleash it in future on this five year old boy and his mother.

 

 

STOLEN KISSES

When I pouted my lips and closed my eyes, I didn’t know what to expect but the last thing, and I mean the very last thing on my mind was to feel Christian’s lips on my own after responding to his ‘Simi kiss me now’ with ‘Oya take’ inside the board room of our office with Isaiah sitting directly opposite us, his brows squeezed in concentration as he stared at his MacBook Pro laptop. Christian had withdrawn with a grin as soon as my eyes flung wide open in utter disbelief. If he had looked away and pretended as if nothing happened, I would have told myself that it was only my imagination but he just stared and smiled and I swiveled my chair away from him. Very good. I am now an office slut. From Shedrach taking me home in his rickety Toyota Corolla all the way to Satellite Town where he had never been before in his entire life before meeting me and having to find his way back to his house in Oshodi every Thursday when we closed earliest in the week to Musa who bought me lunch every day as he asked the same ‘So when are we going on a proper date outside this office environment?’.

Office slut. I couldn’t wait to tell Lamide. She always knew what to do.

 

P.S.

I actually do have a Tele’s Hot-dog & Shrimp sauce and believe it or not, it’s awesome.

Both stories are based on true events.

War

It is easy to ignore what happens around us, in the spiritual. We live on this earth so surrounded by desires and commitments, so overwhelmed by cares of this world, we pay no attention to the war that happens around us, a war that would not stop until the end; until the end of all things. We were born into this war, and it is wise we pay attention, or we would not survive it.

#OST: Linkin Park – Wastelands

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WAR

The night was dark and the wind howled around the treetops, swaying them beneath the starless sky. The scent of danger lay thickly upon the air, a pungent smell easily detected by the more visceral senses, and on the ground and within the branches, creatures hid in nests and burrows, and even the serpentine and nocturnal slithered and crouched deep away from sight.

The dark shapes streaked through the clouds, crackling through the air with lightening in their wake, nebulous forms as of thundery dark and winding clouds, they twisted about each other, moving through the air heading for the forest below. Spiraling around each other, the dark clouds spun in the night, winding tighter and tighter as though to drill into the earth. Sparrows cried in the night, bats shrieked and owls hooted, a cacophony of calls and wails as the forest protesting the intrusion. The shapes tore through the forest canopy with the sound of rushing wings and slammed into a clearing at three distinct spots. Instantly all went silent as the dark shapes resolved into the forms of three women. Continue reading “War”

The Recruit

I initially wrote this for Jeremy Target’s blog,you can see the original post here.

Anyway, I thought about making this into a sort of series, but let us see what we think about this first. If you are a lover of Espionage and spy thrillers and of course, if you are familiar with the awesomeness that is Codename: Ali then you are welcome.

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The Recruit

November.

East-West road, Choba

5:35am

“Move you fool! Is that all you are capable of? You giant lummox of a fellow! Come on, move those feet ma fren! Would you call yourself a champion? Would you call yourself a leader of men when you can’t achieve a single goal? Run fool!”

Cars whizzed past him on both sides in the early morning light, their headlights making wavy yellow lines in the misty harmattan morning. He jogged on the median of the road, the white nylons and trainers a blurry piston to the pedestrians and motorists. At this hour, the sidewalk and the median, which had become a sudden favourite for pedestrian commuters, was mostly empty. As far as he could see in the mist, he was alone on the median, just how he liked it. Ahead of him loomed the big Setraco mile marker. The stone block was his goal, only two hundred yards from him, but still so far. Essien was alone with his thoughts, and his voice to berate him.

“How do you ever hope to be reckoned with? How will you raise your head above your peers? You fat, ugly, un-fit fuck! Run! Don’t stop now, the goal is no further than the next step idiot!” he cursed, the words puffing out his lips with each breath in small clouds of mist as the mile marker seemed to belie his words, retreating further into the mist.

“Now, I have found self-flagellation to be a suitable motivator, but never so vehemently,” came the smooth voice beside him.

Continue reading “The Recruit”